Linda Hart had a lot of love for different things; hockey, animals, but most importantly, her family.
Friendly and very caring, Linda’s family describes her as a social person who always had a story to tell.
"She was always willing to offer a hand," said Laurie Rogers, one of Linda's daughters.
Linda was born in 1941 in New Liskeard, Ontario. She had an older brother, Gord Tucker, who would eventually move to Elora as well. As a teenager, Linda was living in Virginiatown, Ontario and met her future husband, Vern Hart. They met when Linda was 16 and Vern was 18. They remained married for 62 years.
After getting married, the couple started a family in 1961, going on to have three children. Besides their love for family, Linda and Vern shared a strong work ethic. In 1979, the couple moved to Guelph and Linda began working as a secretary in the Speech Pathology department for the Upper Grand District School Board.
“She retired when she was 60, but one of the girls that she was working with at the school board, started her own (secretary) practice at the university, she went there for another 10 years,” said Vern.
"And then she retired again at the age of 70," said Laurie.
Nicole Rogers, one of Linda’s granddaughters, remembers Linda working on campus when she went to the U of G.
"I would stop and have lunch with her when I was at the university, we would go grab Subway at the mall," said Rogers.
Their family became bigger when Linda and Vern became grandparents of six grandchildren. For Linda, her grandchildren quickly became her world. When she wasn’t working, Linda could be found helping them with homework to participate as chaperone on their school trips. She often had them over for dinner, especially if mac and cheese, or meatloaf, was on the menu.
“We'd always see what our parents were cooking, and then we would phone grandma and see what she was cooking, and oftentimes we'd go over there for dinner,” said Stephanie Rogers, also Linda's granddaughter.
“And we'd always have sleepovers there when our mom and dad went on their vacations,” said Nicole.
Linda enjoyed sports, but had a special passion for hockey. Her cousin's son, Cal Clutterbuck, plays for the New York Islanders and Linda followed his career closely.
"She moved wherever he moved," said Stephanie, "First, she was a Minnesota wild fan, but then he got traded."
"She really liked her sports," said Kyle Peyton, Nicole's husband.
Twenty years ago, Linda and Vern moved from Guelph to Elora after winning the lottery. Vern recalls asking Linda to buy tickets one day while at work, and when she went to the store, there was a man in front of Linda who could have bought the winning ticket.
“He didn't want to pay $2 for a quick pick, so Linda threw five dollars down and said, 'Give me a quick pick,' and that was the night before the draw," said Vern.
The next day, the family learned the ticket was worth $146,000.
"We were one number short of about four million dollars," said Vern.
With Linda wanting to be closer to her family, the couple used the money to build their dream home in Elora. After moving, Linda became well known to her neighbours as she could be found enjoying breakfast with her husband at the Gorge Country Kitchen.
"They used to go two or three times a week for breakfast," said Kyle.
“They loved her," said Laurie, noting Linda got to know a few of them through the restaurant.
Linda and Vern were avid travellers as they were hard workers. They did annual trips to Niagara Falls and Florida, and other vacations to Dollywood and Graceland, where they toured Elvis's mansion. With the grandkids, Linda would visit Darien Lake, Santa's Village, Wonderland and Blue Jays games.
When Linda passed away at the age of 80 on February 28, 2022, many family, friends and community members, like Gorge's regulars, showed up to her celebration of life.
From Linda, the family learned a couple lessons in life: do what you love and make time for family.